Julian Assange’s High Court fight against extradition

by Stella Moris

Julian Assange’s High Court fight against extradition

by Stella Moris
Stella Moris
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I am the partner of Julian Assange and the mother of his two youngest sons.
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I am the partner of Julian Assange and the mother of his two youngest sons.
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Latest: Aug. 26, 2022

Julian Assange Files his Perfected Grounds of Appeal

Julian Assange Files his Perfected Grounds of Appeal


Today, 26 August 2022, Julian Assange is filing his Perfected Grounds of Appeal before the High Court of Justice Administrative Court. The Responde…

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Today, the next stage of the legal battle to free my partner Julian Assange begins.

Two days before the inauguration of the new President, the Trump administration appealed a ruling the UK Magistrates Court made on 4 January. The UK judge had decided to block the US request for Julian's extradition, on medical grounds. The US government is now seeking to overturn that decision on appeal.

Although the District Judge refused the extradition she nevertheless denied Julian bail. He is still being held in Belmarsh Prison, as an unconvicted prisoner, in appalling conditions. He has been there for almost two years.

Because of the Covid lockdown he is not allowed to receive any visitors and has no direct access to his lawyers.

Julian's lawyers have already started working on their reply to the US Government and they are preparing to defend Julian's victory in the High Court. If they win again, he will be free.

Why are we raising funds?

Undertaking the next step in the legal process and defending Julian in the High Court will be expensive, even though Julian’s legal team continues to work for low remuneration and have contributed much of their time pro bono. We cannot do it alone and we need your support.

The significance of Julian's case

It was the Trump administration who charged Julian under the Espionage Act for exposing war crimes and human rights abuses in 2010 and 2011.

The decision to indict him was a political act motivated by malice. Julian exposed the killing of unarmed civilians and the torture of innocent people. For that the people who are driving this want to bury Julian in the deepest, darkest corner of the US prison system for the rest of his life. Julian faces a potential sentence of 175 years.

Press freedom groups consider the indictment against Julian the single gravest threat to press freedom in the US, the UK and Europe, because of its extraterritorial nature. It is the first ever indictment of a publisher under the US Espionage Act.

If Julian is extradited he will be put on trial in Alexandria, Virginia, where he stands no chance of a fair trial. It is where US intelligence agencies are headquartered. The court complex is 15 miles from CIA headquarters. The state is populated by employees of the very sector whose abuses and crimes Julian exposed.

The Espionage Act prevents Julian from arguing why he published what he published, what he exposed, and the fact it didn't result in any physical harm.

How can you help?

Please join me in this epic fight for justice, for freedom of expression and for the rights of journalists and publishers to hold Governments to account without being imprisoned and potentially losing their life. Any donation, no matter how small, will make a huge difference.

On behalf of Julian and our family, I want to thank you for standing with us and helping to raise money for this important legal battle. It is a fight for our family, to give our sons Max, 2, and Gabriel, 3, the right to grow up with their father. It is also a fight for truth and justice, and a fight for everyone’s right to live in a free society.

Please do share the link to this page with anyone who may want to help.

I will be posting updates here so that you can follow the developments.

Thank you for your support,

Stella Moris

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Update 17

Stella Moris

Aug. 26, 2022

Julian Assange Files his Perfected Grounds of Appeal

Julian Assange Files his Perfected Grounds of Appeal


Today, 26 August 2022, Julian Assange is filing his Perfected Grounds of Appeal before the High Court of Justice Administrative Court. The Respondents are the Government of the United States and the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Priti Patel.

The Perfected Grounds of Appeal contain the arguments on which Julian Assange intends to challenge District Judge Vanessa Baraitser's decision of 4 January 2021, and introduces significant new evidence that has developed since that ruling.

The Perfected Grounds of Appeal concerning the United States Government include the following points:

  • Julian Assange is being prosecuted and punished for his political opinions (s.81(a) of the Extradition Act);
  • Julian Assange is being prosecuted for protected speech (Article 10)
    The request itself violates the US-UK Extradition Treaty and International law because it is for political offences;
  • The US Government has misrepresented the core facts of the case to the British courts; and
  • The extradition request and its surrounding circumstances constitute an abuse of process.

    The Perfected Grounds of Appeal concerning the Secretary of State for the Home Department (SSHD) include arguments that Home Secretary Priti Patel erred in her decision to approve the extradition order on grounds of specialty and because the request itself violates Article 4 of the US-UK Extradition Treaty.

    "Since the last ruling, overwhelming evidence has emerged proving that the United States prosecution against my husband is a criminal abuse. The High Court judges will now decide whether Julian is given the opportunity to put the case against the United States before open court, and in full, at the appeal," said Julian Assange's wife Stella Assange.

    Background:

    4 January 2021: Westminster Magistrates Court discharges (throws out) the US extradition request against Julian Assange. District judge Vanessa Baraitser rules that extradition is barred under the 2003 Extradition Act because it is "opressive" (s.91). The United States Government appeals.

    27-28 October 2021: US appeal hearing before the High Court Appeal. Julian Assange suffers a transient ischemic attack (TIA) on the first day.

    10 December 2021: The decision to discharge the extradition request is overturned by the High Court due to the United States Government issuing so-called 'diplomatic assurances' to the UK Government. The High Court rejects the United States Government's arguments that the district judge erred in her findings.

    14 March 2022: The Supreme Court refuses Julian Assange permission to appeal the High Court's decision. The case is sent back to the Magistrates' Court with instruction to issue the extradition order.

    20 April 2022: The Magistrate issues the extradition order, which is sent to Home Secretary Priti Patel for approval.

    17 June 2022: Home Secretary Priti Patel approves the extradition order to extradite Julian Assange to the United States.
Update 16

Stella Moris

June 17, 2022

The fight goes on

Today, Home Secretary Priti Patel approved Julian's extradition to the US, but that is not the end of the road - we will continue to fight for his freedom and we know we can rely on your continued support.

Here is the statement I gave to media outlets today:

"This is a dark day for Press freedom and for British democracy. Anyone in this country who cares about freedom of expression should be deeply ashamed that the Home Secretary has approved the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States, the country that plotted his assassination.

Julian did nothing wrong. He has committed no crime and is not a criminal. He is a journalist and a publisher, and he is being punished for doing his job.

It was in Priti Patel’s power to do the right thing. Instead, she will forever be remembered as an accomplice of the United States in its agenda to turn investigative journalism into a criminal enterprise.

Foreign laws now determine the limits of press freedom in this country and the journalism that won the industry’s most prestigious prizes has been deemed an extraditable offence and worthy of a life sentence.

The path to Julian’s freedom is long and tortuous. Today is not the end of the fight. It is only the beginning of a new legal battle. We will appeal through the legal system; the next appeal will be before the High Court. We will fight louder and shout harder on the streets, we will organise and we will make Julian’s story known to all.

Make no mistake, this has always been a political case. Julian published evidence that the country trying to extradite him committed war crimes and covered them up; tortured and rendered; bribed foreign officials; and corrupted judicial inquiries into US wrongdoing. Their revenge is to try to disappear him into the darkest recesses of their prison system for the rest of his life to deter others from holding governments to account.

We will not let that happen. Julian's freedom is coupled to all our freedoms. We will fight to return Julian to his family and to regain freedom of expression for us all".

Update 15

Stella Moris

March 15, 2022

Supreme Court refuses to hear Julian's case - the fight goes on

The Supreme Court has refused to allow Julian his appeal against extradition to the US on the grounds that the application does not raise an arguable point of law.

This means the case will now return to District Judge Vanessa Baraitser, the original judge who blocked the US's extradition request in January 2021 because his life would be at risk in the American prison system.

In December 2021, the High Court reversed that decision, on the basis of US 'assurances' about his treatment, which were provided only after the main evidential hearing. 

Westminster Magistrates Court will now have to rubber stamp the Supreme Court decison, passing the case to Home Secretary Priti Patel to make a final decision. However, if she approves the extradition it can still be contested through the courts.

Just this morning, on our way to school, our four-year-old son asked me when daddy will come home. Julian's life is being treated as if it were expendable. He has been robbed of over a decade of liberty, and three years from his home and his young children who are being forced to grow up without their father. A system that allows this is a system that has lost its way.

Whether Julian is extradited or not, which is the same as saying whether he lives or dies, is being decided through a process of legal avoidance. Avoiding hearing arguments that challenge the UK courts' deference to unenforceable and caveated claims regarding his treatment made by the United States, the country that plotted to murder him. The country whose atrocities he brought into the public domain. Julian is the key witness, the principal indicter, and the cause of enormous embarrassment to successive US governments.

Julian was just doing his job, which was to publish the truth about wrongdoing. His loyalty is the same as that which all journalists should have: to the public. Not to the spy agencies of a foreign power. He published evidence that the country that is trying to extradite him committed war crimes and covered them up; that it committed gross violations that killed tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children; that it tortured and rendered; that it bombed children, had death squads, and murdered Reuters journalists in cold blood; that it bribed foreign officials and bullied less powerful countries into harming their own citizens, and that it also corrupted allied nations' judicial inquiries into US wrongdoing. 

For this, that country wants him in prison for 175 years.

Now the extradition will formally move to a political stage. Julian's fate now lies in the hands of Home Secretary Priti Patel. This is a political case and she can end it. It is in her hands to prove that the UK is better than all of this. Patel can end Britain's exposure to international ridicule because of Julian's incarceration. It takes political courage but that is what it needed to preserve an open society that protects publishers from foreign persecution.

The cruelty against Julian is corrupting. It corrupts our most cherished values and institutions. They will be extinguished and lost forever unless this travesty is brought to an end.

The fight for freedom will go on, until he's freed. Now, more than ever, we need your help as we continue the fight for justice.

Thank you for your support - it means so much to us both.

Update 14

Stella Moris

Jan. 24, 2022

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Julian wins leave to appeal

Julian Assange has today won the right to ask the Supreme Court to block his extradition to the US. 

The High Court has ruled that we have an arguable point of law and we can petition the Supreme Court to hear the case.

The point of appeal concerns the 'assurances' given by the US about how Julian would be treated by the US justice system if he was extradited. 

Lord Burnett, the Lord Chief Justice, said the case had raised a legal question over the circumstances in which judges received and considered assurances from the US about how he would be treated in prison.

Julian's lawyers now have 14 days to appeal to the Supreme Court to hear the case. In its pronouncement the High Court granted our request to certify the following point of law:

"In what circumstances can an appellate court receive assurances from a requesting state which were not before the court of first instance in extradition proceedings".

It is quite a technical issue so I thought it would be helpful to share the statement I gave outside the court after the hearing:

“Thanks everyone for coming today. What happened in court today is precisely what we wanted to happen. The High Court certified that we had raised a point of law of general public importance and that the Supreme Court has good grounds to hear this appeal. The situation now is that the Supreme Court has to decide whether it will hear the appeal but make no mistake we won today in court.

But let’s not forget that every time we win, as long as this case isn’t dropped, as long as Julian isn’t freed, Julian continues to suffer. For almost three years he has been in Belmarsh prison and he is suffering profoundly, day after day, week after week, year after year. Julian has to be freed and we hope that this will soon end.

But we are far from achieving justice in this case because Julian has been incarcerated for so long and he should not have spent a single day in prison. If there had been justice the officials who plotted, who conspired to murder Julian, would be in the courtroom right now. If there were justice, the crimes that Julian exposed, war crimes, the killing of innocent civilians, would not be ignored.

Our fight goes on and we will fight this until Julian is free. Thank you.”

As I told journalists outside the High Court, the fight goes on. Please help us to continue the fight to free Julian by contributing to this appeal.

I will update you further when we have recieved a decision from the Supreme Court and, if they agree to hear the case, a new phase of the campaign will begin.

Thank you so much for your continuing support.




Update 13

Stella Moris

Dec. 23, 2021

Case update: We are appealing against the High Court decision

This morning at 11:05 Julian Assange filed an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court the High Court's ruling that he can be extradited to the US. 

The High Court's ruling in USA v Assange raises three points of law of general public importance that have an impact on the procedural and human rights safeguards of a wide range of other types of cases.

On December 10th, the High Court upheld the Magistrates’ Court’s assessment, based on the evidence before her, that there was a real risk that, should Julian Assange be extradited to the United States, he would be subjected to near total isolation, including under the regimes of SAMs (Special Administrative Measures) and/or ADX, (administrative maximum prison) and that such isolation would cause his mental condition to deteriorate to such a degree that there was a high risk of suicide. These findings led the lower court to block the extradition under s. 91 of the Extradition Act, which bans "oppressive" extraditions.

However, the High Court overturned the lower court's decision to block the extradition, based solely on the fact that after the US lost the extradition case on January 4th 2021, the US State Department sent a letter to the UK Foreign Office containing conditional assurances in relation to Julian Assange's placement under SAMs and ADX. 

The assurances letter explicitly states in points one and four that "the United States retains the power" to "impose SAMs" on Mr. Assange and to "designate Mr. Assange to ADX" should he say or do anything since January 4, 2021 that would cause the US government to determine, in its subjective assessment, that Julian Assange should be placed under SAMs conditions and/or in ADX Florence. These conditional assurances alone were considered sufficient by the High Court to overturn the lower court's decision.

Under English law, in order for the application to have a chance to be considered by the Supreme Court, first the same High Court judges who ordered Julian Assange's extradition must certify that at least one of the Supreme Court appeal grounds is a point of law of general public importance (s.114 of the 2003 Extradition Act).

Julian Assange's application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court is therefore currently under consideration by the High Court judges. It is not known how long it will take for the decision to come down, but it is not expected before the third week of January.

For background, see Julian Assange's filing opposing the US extradition in the High Court. https://defend.wikileaks.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Assange-Defense-Appeal-Arguments-and-Extradition-Glossary.pdf

In the meantime, I urge you to continue supporting our legal fight for justice, for freedom of expression and for the rights of journalists and publishers to hold Governments to account. Any donation, no matter how small, will make a huge difference. 

Thank you so much for your continuing support.

Update 12

Stella Moris

Oct. 28, 2021

Julian's extradition appeal hearing - Day 2 p.m

The US appeal against a District Judge's decision to block Julian's extradition continued today. Here is a report from Central News, an independent court agency, who has a reporter watching the case:

Mark Summers QC, for Assange, argued he would still be kept in oppressive conditions even if he was not in SAMs.

‘Why are they [the US] allowed to change their case after two years with a mentally vulnerable defendant in custody?

‘Here we are even with the “sea change” there is no assurance at all to assuage concerns about conditions in this case.

‘All the evidence, including from [US assistant attorney Gordon] Kromberg, is that administrative segregation is a prospect.

‘What that means is Mr Assange is almost certainly heading for conditions of extreme isolation, whatever the label one attaches to them, within the prison estate, pre-trial for however long that lasts, and in the event of conviction, or even acquitted.

‘Even in the event of an acquittal, Mr Assange would be brought in front of a grand jury for civil contempt.

‘In the event of conviction, if he does not receive the type of sentence that the sentencing guidelines say he should, if Mr Kromberg does not prosecute Assange for civil contempt, as he has done in other cases, only then, if Australian agrees to have him transferred there, which they may or may not.

‘It would still, on the evidence, take years to process the transfer, around 2 years on average.

‘There is the possibility of Mr Assange having to serve years, or possibly the rest of his life, in extreme isolation, perhaps leading to his death.

‘This is a case where there is credible evidence of US government plans developed at some length to do serious harm to Mr Assange.

‘The US has sought to use a UK court to attain jurisdiction of Mr Assange where they have contemplated assassination and poisoning of that requested person.’

James Lewis, QC, for the US government, said: ‘Diplomatic assurances are a solemn matter, they are not dished out like Smarties.

‘My learned friend said he would in conditions akin to SAMs anyway, because he would be in administrative segregation. Firstly, that only applies to pre-trial.

‘There is a fundamental distinction between administrative segregation and SAMs.

‘It is not isolation.

‘It is just nonsense.

‘The US has never broken a diplomatic assurance, ever.’

Lord Chief Justice Baron Ian Burnett of Maldon, PC, and Lord Justice Holyrode will hand down their decision at a later date. Is is thought that their ruling might not be handed down until six weeks time.


Update 11

Stella Moris

Oct. 28, 2021

Julian's extradition appeal hearing - Day 2 a.m

The US appeal against a District Judge's decision to block Julian's extradition continued this morning. Here is a report from Central News, an independent court agency, who has a reporter watching the case:


Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was a target of a CIA plot to assassinate him in the Ecuadorian embassy, the High Court heard today.


The US government are trying to put the 50-year-old on trial for espionage and hacking but a judge blocked his extradition in January due to the risk he would commit suicide in an American jail.


The Australian is accused by the US government of conspiring with army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to leak classified military documents between January and May 2010.


A US grand jury indicted him on 18 charges last year – 17 of which fall under the Espionage Act – including conspiracy to receive, obtain and disclose classified diplomatic and military documents.


Assange's lawyers claim he faces up to 175 years in jail if convicted, although the US government responded the sentence will probably be between four and six years.


James Lewis QC, for the US, has said the Court of Appeal should grant the extradition since the US government has given diplomatic assurances about Assange’s treatment that fundamentally alter the nature of the case.


If the court does order the Australian's extradition, the case would then be sent to Priti Patel for the Home Secretary to give her final decision.


He also criticised Professor Michael Kopelman for not revealing Assange was in a relationship with Stella Moris when he first gave evidence about Assange’s mental state last year.


Assange did not attend the second day of the appeal at the High Court today (thurs) due to his recently increased medicine dose, which has caused him to suffer from fatigue.


Edward Fitzgerald, QC, for Assange, said Professor Kopelman was a reliable witness, adding extradition should always be denied when there is a high risk of suicide, even if protective measures would be put in place to prevent it.


Mr Fitzgerald said: ‘The general evidence is any, or most, people, will find a way [to commit suicide].


‘People find a way to commit suicide whether they are clever or not clever, but when they are driven.


‘Given the severity of his condition he will be driven to take his own life, whatever the steps that are taken, whatever the conditions.


‘There is nothing to suggest that these factors have changed in the least bit since the extradition hearing.


‘This is not in the distant future but the moment he lands in America.


‘It is absurd to say you can’t look further down the line. If you know the requested person is going to put in torturous conditions after 2 years, you can’t say you can only look at the first six months.


‘This is a person with serious mental disorder.


‘The US has recklessly stated that there was a finding that the court has been mislead, and that is not true, there was not such as finding.


‘There have been a number of reports in the press that there was such a finding.’


Mr Fitzgerald described the ‘frightful and menacing’ situation Assange found himself in, as the US government conducted covert surveillance on Assange and Ms Moris inside the Ecuadorian Embassy.


He continued: ‘There are great grounds for fearing what will be done to him given the revelations of surveillance in the embassy and plots to kill him.


‘They were taking about poisoning, kidnapping, and killing Mr Assange, in these circumstances, of course there would be concerns for Ms Moris’s safety.'


Referring to District Judge Vanessa Baraitser's decision in January not to grant Assange's extradition, citing a real risk of suicide, Mr Fitzgerald said:


‘The judgement of the district judge was humane and wise.


‘The judge had every reason to find Professor Kopelman’s reticence to be reasonable.'


On the orders of US government agents, Ecuadorian embassy security staff photocopied Assange’s lawyers' notes, took DNA evidence from the nappies of his children and planted surveillance devices inside the embassy, the court heard.


Mr Fitzgerald also cited Professor Keith Rix’s report on whether Professor Kopelman’s breached ethical guidelines, saying there was a ‘need to maintain the confidentiality of a family member with very young children whose privacy and safety might be put at risk by inappropriate and premature disclosure of a relationship with a very high-profile individual, who had become the declared target of the agencies of a powerful foreign state.’


He said: ‘This was not done to maintain a tactical advantage, it was done to protect Stella Moris.’


The extradition request was denied in January, but the US is appealing the decision claiming Professor Kopelman, was not a reliable witness as he did not disclose Assange had a child while living at the Ecuadorian embassy.


Members of Assange’s family and friends appeared in court at the Royal Courts of Justice while supporters protested outside with banners, megaphones, and a sound-system, chanting: ‘There’s only one decision, no extradition!’


The charges relate to the 2010 release by WikiLeaks of 500,000 secret files detailing aspects of military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq and secret cables about Guantanamo Bay.


This included the notorious ‘Collateral Murder’ video, which showed the July 2007 killing by an American Apache helicopter crew of eleven civilians, including Reuters journalists Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and Saeed Chmagh, 40.


The video, recorded by the helicopter gun-sight, showed the helicopter crew firing into a group of Iraqi civilian men in New Baghdad after being given permission from a commanding officer, killing 11 men and seriously wounding two children.


Judge Baraitser had said there was a 'real risk' Assange would be locked up at the Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) if convicted, which would cause Assange’s mental health to significantly deteriorate.


The US government gave the UK diplomatic assurances Assange would not be put in Special Administrative Measures (SAMs), an restrictive form of solitary confinement reserved for terrorism and national security prisoners


But the US reserved the right to impose SAMs if they conclude a future ‘act’ met the test for it.


Under SAMs, it would be a criminal offence for Assange to even speak to another prisoner, the court heard.


The US also gave assurances it would consent to transferring Assange to an Australian prison if he applies for it after he is convicted and sentenced, and will not be housed in Colorado supermax prison ADX Florence before trial.


Assange would also receive any required medical treatment while in US custody, the US government assured.


District Judge Baraitser wrote in her ruling any extradition should be barred 'if it is unjust or oppressive to due to a person's health.


'Mr Assange suffers from a recurrent depressive disorder which was severe in September 2019 and is sometimes accompanied by psychotic features.


'Mr Assange suffers from autism spectrum disorder albeit a highly functioning autistic case and Asperger's syndrome disorder.


'Not withstanding the strong and constant support of his family… Mr Assange has remained severely or moderately clinically depressed throughout his detention at HMP Belmarsh.


'He had suicidal or self-harming thoughts, felt despairing or hopeless and had plans to end his life...he has made frequent requests for access to the Samaritans.


'The thoughts of self harm and suicide… led to a plan for him to be monitored.


'He has already made suicidal plans… and taken steps to plan for his death by preparing a will.


'The overall impression is of a depressed and sometimes despairing man.'


Assange was granted political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012 to avoid onward extradition to the US from Sweden for rape allegations dating back to 2010 that he always denied.


Swedish authorities dropped the rape allegations, but Assange was dragged out of the embassy by British police and imprisoned for 50 weeks in April 2019 for breaching his bail conditions after his asylum period expired.


Assange has been in custody in Belmarsh Prison ever since.


Earlier today former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called for Assange to be released as he addressed a small crowd of people again gathered outside the High Court.


Mr Corbyn said Assange should be 'hailed' for telling the truth.


The appeal hearing continues.

Update 10

Stella Moris

Oct. 27, 2021

Julian's extradition appeal hearing - Day 1 p.m.

Day 1 of the extradition hearing was mainly taken up by the prosecution putting foward its case for why the District Judge's decision should be overturned and Julian's extradition should be allowed to go ahead. The defence arguments will be heard in detail on Thursday.

Here is an account of the afternoon's hearing from Central Press, a court agency who have a reporter covering the case:

For the prosecution, James Lewis QC said: ‘No one who has ever been extradited from the UK to the US has ever committed suicide. That is a fact.

‘The judge focused on the ability to get around suicide prevention measures. The judge’s approach carries the risk of rewarding fugitives for their flight. It becomes a trump card, everyone will say that they are clever enough to get around suicide prevention measures.

‘The handing of that trump card to fugitives cannot be a proper way of dealing with extradition.’

Mr Lewis also stated Assange would not receive a lengthy sentence of imprisonment. He cited the cases of alleged hackers Daniel Hale and Reality Winner, who received prison sentences of 45 months and 63 months respectively.

The prosecutor then criticised Professor Kopelman, particularly the professor’s failure to disclose the fact Assange was in a relationship and had fathered two children with Stella Moris while he was in the Ecuadorian embassy.

Ms Moris’s relationship with Assange was revealed in the press during the initial extradition hearing. Professor Kopelman had initially hidden Ms Moris’s relationship with Assange because he was concerned for her privacy, the court heard.

The barrister then called Kopelman’s view that Assange would be at risk of suicide in a US prison a ‘completely settled, biased, unobjective opinion’.

Mr Lewis continued: ‘What is crucially important is Professor Kopelman did not say he knew this all along ‘He didn’t say his first report should be considered in light of this fact, and he should not have signed the statement of truth. His notes made it clear that, for the first time, his report was misleading.’

Referring to District Judge Baraitser’s opinion that this was an ‘understandable, human response’, Mr Lewis said: ‘One does not know what understandable response means when an expert witness has a duty to the court.’

‘She failed to appreciate the significance of the fact Prof Kopelman was willing to mislead on a material issue. Experts are not allowed to make misleading statements to the court for any reason. The judge treated this as if it is a relatively minor matter, that is not how the Supreme Court sees it.’

Assange had also told another doctor he would not commit suicide due to his concern for his son from a previous relationship, the court heard.

Referring to Assange’s diagnosis of autism at the age of 48, Mr Lewis said: ‘It would be frankly inconceivable that a person given custody in Australia could be autistic, he was given custody of his son.’

Edward Fitzgerald QC for Assange, called the appeal ‘an attempt to re-litigate the case.

‘Firstly, this was a carefully reasoned and carefully considered judgement,' he said.

‘This picture that my learned friend tries to paint, of Professor Kopelman as this lone wolf is absolute nonsense. I just wonder some times if my learned friend’s reading the same judgment we are.’

Addressing Mr Lewis’s argument that District Judge Baraitser did not give sufficient reasoning why she preferred Professor Kopelman’s evidence to the prosecution’s psychiatric evidence, Mr Fitzgerald said they (the US government) were asking for ‘4,000 page judgments’.

Mr Fitzgerald continued: ‘It is perfectly reasonable to find it oppressive to extradite a mentally disordered person because his extradition is likely to result in his death.’

Mr Fitzgerald also pointed out that Australia may not accept Assange if the US agrees to allow him to serve his sentence there, and that the US’s assurances did not guarantee Assange would not be placed in SAMs if he was convicted.

The appeal hearing continues on Thursday.

Update 9

Stella Moris

Oct. 27, 2021

Julian's extradition appeal hearing - Day 1 a.m.

The US appeal against a District Judge's decision to block Julian's extradition began this morning. The opening of the case was based on the prosecution's argument that his extradition should go ahead. Here is a report from Central News, an independent court agency, who has a reporter watching the case:

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange could be put into solitary confinement in the US which would stop him even speaking to another prisoner, the High Court heard today.

The US government want to try the 50-year-old for espionage, but a judge blocked his extradition in January because of the risk he would commit suicide in an American jail.

The Australian is accused by the US government of conspiring with army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to leak classified military documents between January and May 2010. A US grand jury indicted him on 18 charges last year – 17 of which fall under the Espionage Act – including conspiracy to receive, obtain and disclose classified diplomatic and military documents.

Assange's lawyers have said he faces up to 175 years in jail if convicted, although the US government claimed the sentence was more likely to be between four and six years.

The extradition was blocked last January, but the US is appealing the decision, saying one of Assange's key witnesses, psychologist Doctor Michael Kopelman, was not a reliable witness as he did not disclose Assange had a child while living at the Ecuadorian embassy.

The charges relate to the 2010 release by WikiLeaks of 500,000 secret files detailing aspects of military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq and secret cables about Guantanamo Bay.

This included the notorious ‘Collateral Murder’ video, which showed the July 2007 killing by an American Apache helicopter crew of eleven civilians, including Reuters journalists Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and Saeed Chmagh, 40. The video, recorded by the helicopter gun-sight, showed the helicopter crew firing into a group of Iraqi civilians in New Baghdad after being given permission from a commanding officer. Two children were also seriously wounded.

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser had said there was a 'real risk' Assange would be locked up at the Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) if convicted, which would cause Assange’s mental health to significantly deteriorate.

Assange initially did not attend the hearing at the High Court due to his recently increased medicine dose, but later appeared for part of the hearing via videolink from Belmarsh prison wearing a white shirt, black facemask, and a black tie.

James Lewis QC, for the US, said the court should grant the extradition since the US government has given diplomatic assurances about Assange’s treatment that fundamentally alter the nature of the case.

If the court granted the extradition, the case would be sent to Home Secretary Priti Patel for her to give the final decision.

The US government said Assange would not be put in Special Administrative Measures (SAMs), a restrictive form of solitary confinement reserved for terrorism and national security prisoners.

However, the US reserved the right to impose SAMs if they conclude a future ‘act’ met the test for it. Under SAMs, it would be a criminal offence for Assange even to speak to another prisoner, the court heard.

The US also gave assurances it would consent to transferring Assange to an Australian prison if he applied for a transfer after he is convicted and sentenced, and that he would not be housed in Colorado supermax prison ADX Florence before trial. Assange would also receive any required medical treatment while in US custody, it was claimed.

Mr Lewis said: ‘Even without the assurances, we maintain the District Judge was wrong to come to the conclusions she did.

‘The district judge, having concluded that the psychiatric expert called on behalf of the defence misled her, ought to have ruled that his evidence was incapable of being relied upon. In light of the assurances, the district judge would have sent the case to the Home Secretary.

‘In our submission, the District Judge entirely based her decision on the imposition of SAMs pre- and post-trial at ADX Florence.

‘If he commits a further act, it must be open to the US to impose SAMs, otherwise it would give him a blank cheque to do whatever he could, if those conditions could not be imposed.

‘We never understood that assurances were necessary. Our position was that it was highly unlikely he would be subject to Special Administrative Measures. We have now dealt with these problems through these assurances. District Judge Baraitser's prediction was based on a risk of suicide brought about by a set of circumstances which might occur.’

In a written skeleton argument submitted to the court, Mr Lewis also said: ‘Proceeding on the basis that an individual has the ability to circumvent suicide prevention measures becomes a trump card.

‘It negates that a requesting state may have the resources, the treatment and suicide prevention measures (equivalent to those in the UK) to treat psychiatric illness and manage the risk of suicide. It also assumes that no treatment in the requesting state could reduce the risk of suicide before it becomes acute.

‘The District Judge’s approach carries with it the risk of rewarding fugitives for their flight, and of creating an anomaly between the approach of the Courts in domestic criminal proceedings, and in extradition. In the domestic context, it would never be said that an individual accused of crimes of the severity of Mr Assange’s could not be put on trial (despite being fit to be tried) because of his determination to commit suicide.’

District Judge Baraitser said in her January ruling that extradition should be barred 'if it is unjust or oppressive to due to a person's health’.

'Mr Assange suffers from a recurrent depressive disorder which was severe in September 2019 and is sometimes accompanied by psychotic features.

'Mr Assange suffers from autism spectrum disorder albeit a highly functioning autistic case and Asperger's syndrome disorder.

'Not withstanding the strong and constant support of his family… Mr Assange has remained severely or moderately clinically depressed throughout his detention at HMP Belmarsh.

'He had suicidal or self-harming thoughts, felt despairing or hopeless and had plans to end his life...he has made frequent requests for access to the Samaritans. The thoughts of self-harm and suicide… led to a plan for him to be monitored. He has already made suicidal plans… and taken steps to plan for his death by preparing a will. The overall impression is of a depressed and sometimes despairing man.'

Assange was granted political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012 to avoid onward extradition to the US from Sweden for rape allegations dating back to 2010, which he has always denied.

Swedish authorities dropped the rape allegations but he was dragged out of the embassy by British police and imprisoned for 50 weeks in April 2019 for breaching his bail conditions after his asylum period expired.

Assange has been held in Belmarsh Prison ever since and denied bail.

The hearing continues.



Update 8

Stella Moris

Aug. 6, 2021

Julian's new court date - next Wednesday

It is seven months since Julian’s extradition was blocked by Judge Vanessa Baraitser, yet he has remained in prison, suffering and isolated, despite having committed no crime.

 It took the court six months to decide whether to grant the US government permission to appeal. Permission has been granted on a limited basis; that is to say, two out of the five grounds that the US applied to appeal on were rejected.

 I am appealing once more, on behalf of Julian, for your help to continue our fight for Julian's freedom. The calamitous US-UK Extradition treaty, passed under Blair, provides that the United States government's legal costs are entirely paid for by the UK tax payer. Julian on the other hand, is having to raise the money to defeat the US case.

 The next court date is on Wednesday, August 11th, at the Royal Courts of Justice in central London. Julian is expected to attend in person.

 The decision to limit the US appeal was taken by Mr. Justice Jonathan Swift, one of the most senior High Court judges in charge of the Administrative Court (Swift has a reputation of being a conservative judge, recently described by Jolyon Maugham QC as "very Government minded"). Swift found that Judge Baraitser had rightly relied on expert evidence that Julian’s clinical condition meant that he is at a high risk of death if the UK court orders his extradition, as well as supporting her assessment on the integrity of the expert witnesses.

 Wednesday's hearing is NOT the main appeal. It is a preliminary appeal hearing, in which the US government will ask different High Court judges for permission to re-introduce the two grounds that Swift dismissed.

 Wednesday's hearing is important because Swift decided that the appeal should be heard on very narrow, limited legal grounds. He determined that the US government should not be allowed to question the previous judge's decision-making on the facts regarding US prison conditions and Julian's state of health.

 The US government will re-run arguments that have already been settled by two previous judges, including a very senior High Court judge. It seems unlikely that the judges on Wednesday will reach a different conclusion.

 Wednesday's hearing is therefore particularly vexatious. The ultimate strategy by the US government is to try to get the court to dismiss important evidence by one of the most eminent neuropsychiatrists in Britain, Michael Kopelman, regarding Julian’s mental health.

 It is the latest move by the US government to try to game the British legal system. The US government’s handling of the case exposes the underlying nature of the prosecution against Julian: aggressive tactics and subverting the rules so that Julian’s ability to defend himself is obstructed and undermined while he remains in prison for years and years, unconvicted, and held on spurious charges. The “process” is the punishment.

 The real substance of the appeal will take place at the main hearing later this year. But the scope of that hearing, three grounds (narrow) or five (revisiting factual evidence) will be determined at Wednesday's hearing.

 The main hearing later this year will focus on one principal aspect: after having lost the extradition case in January, the US government issued what is referred to as “undertakings” or “assurances”, though both terms are misnomers.

 Julia Hall, Amnesty International's expert on Counter-Terrorism, Criminal Justice and Human Rights, commented that the US 'undertakings' in this case “are not assurances at all" and added "these are inherently unreliable”. (https://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/in-edicola/articoli/2021/07/24/julia-hall-amnesty-international-expert-on-national-security-assange-should-be-released/6272346/)

 The big picture is that any assurance short of dropping the case entirely is entirely worthless. Julian is being punished for doing his job. He published true information that the public had the right to know and which revealed serious wrongdoing on the part of states and their agents.

 Some people have wrongly suggested that the US government’s so-called “assurances” are significant concessions in relation to Julian’s case – for anyone who looks at their wording it is clear that they are no such thing, as Amnesty International has repeatedly exposed.

 Here are a few reasons why experts immediately discound the US 'undertakings' in this case: 

  • According to its own filing in the case, the caveats to these “assurances” render them meaningless – the US government can still impose the conditions that Judge Baraitser concluded would kill Julian. In fact, the US "undertakings" impose no obligations whatsoever on US authorities to rule out SAMs and ADX. On the contrary: they say that the US government can impose ADX/SAMs once Julian is in US custody, at any time, for whatever reason they decide, in secret.
  • More than 80,000 prisoners a day are held in solitary confinement in the United States outside the Supermax system and the SAMs system according to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics. Even if the US government did not apply SAMs or ADX, Julian would be certain to fall into the category of prisoners held in solitary confinement, conditions that the medical experts in this case have found would drive him to suicide (only some 45 people are held in SAMs and approximately 500 in ADX Florence).
  • According to the US government’s own filing, the very US agencies that WikiLeaks and Julian have repeatedly exposed engaging in criminality and wrongdoing, including torture, would play a central role in determining Julian's prison conditions if he were extradited to the United States (28 C.F.R. § 501.2 or § 501.3). News reports have listed these US agencies as having carried out illicit activities targeting Julian and our family. These include agencies that are known for literally institutionalising torture and killing people.
  • The pledge that he could finish his sentence in Australia is not a concession, it is existing, agreed protocol between the US and Australia – but it would only be accessible to Julian when all appeals have been exhausted, which will  take more than a decade, maybe even two. The case would inevitably go all the way to the US Supreme Court
  • The history of US conduct of the case – bugging the Ecuadorian Embassy, spying on Julian and our family, targeting Julian’s lawyers and violating legal privilege, recording his lawyers’ meetings with him, harvesting DNA from our baby, to name but a few of the known aspects, shows that the US government cannot and should not be trusted to deliver on any “undertakings” they make in relation to Julian. The only criminal activity that has taken place in this case has been committed by the prosecuting state against Julian, his colleagues, friends and family. 

There have however been numerous fleeting reports about the “undertakings” that have completely misconstrued their scope and nature, wrongly suggesting they remove the factors that the Magistrate took into consideration to rule against extradition on January 4th.

 What the US is proposing is a formula to keep Julian in prison effectively for the rest of his life despite mounting international pressure for his release and a widespread acceptance that the US case is built on lies.

 It is ironic that the US appeal was granted days after investigative journalists in Iceland revealed that the Department of Justice’s lead witness Thordarson has admitted that allegations in the indictment against Julian that are based on his testimony are fabricated, and that he became a DoJ witness in exchange for immunity from US prosecutors (https://stundin.is/grein/13627/). Those discredited allegations have grossly misled the UK courts and are repeatedly cited in the judgment delivered on January 4th.

 Julian spent his 50th birthday behind bars in Belmarsh prison, where he has been on remand for two years. He is not a criminal. He is a journalist and a publisher, and he is being punished for doing his job. Julian’s freedom is coupled to all our freedoms - no democratic society can ever make journalism a crime.

 Although there is pressure from legislators, human rights organisations and press freedom groups from around the world for the US to abandon this baseless, politically motivated prosecution, unfortunately we must prepare to fight it in court again. Your generosity and commitment to helping him win this case is overwhelming and he is so grateful for all your support. Thank you from us both.

 Actions:

    Please donate to Julian’s legal costs of the US appeal!

    Protest in front of the High Court in London on August 11th, at 09:00

    Sign the Geneva call to Free Assange (https://pressclub.ch/gva-freeassange/?lang=en)

    Follow the many actions via @deacampaign and others.

Upcoming Dates:


August:

 11 August: A 2-hour Preliminary US appeal hearing and Enough is Enough—Free Assange Now! Protest at the High Court, Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, London. Julian is expected to attend

 19 August: World Humanitarian Day

 30 August: International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances

 

 September

 5 September: Father’s Day (Australia)

 10 September: World Suicide Prevention Day

 21 September: International Day of Peace

 26 September: German elections

 26 September: International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

 28 September: International Day for Universal Access to Information

 

October

 2 October: International Day of Non-violence

 3-6 October: Tory Party Conference in Manchester

 10 October: World Mental Health Day

 22 October: 11-year anniversary of the publication of the Iraq War Logs

 24-31 October: Global Media and Information Literacy Week

 24-31 October: Disarmament Week

 

November

 1-12 November 2021: UK Climate Change Conference UK 2021 – COP26, Glasgow COP26 conference will see the world's leaders travel to Glasgow to discuss global climate and health challenges.

 2 November: International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists

 29 November: 11-year anniversary of the publication of Cablegate (US State Department cables)


 December

 7 December: 11-year anniversary of Julian's deprivation of liberty. Julian was arrested on this day in 2010 and has never been free since.

Update 7

Stella Moris

June 14, 2021

Six months since Julian's extradition was refused

Six months have passed since an English court refused my partner Julian’s extradition to the United States – ruling that sending him to America would be so oppressive it would drive him to suicide.

Here is an update on the legal case and other activity.


President Biden in Europe as politicians urge him to drop Julian’s extradition

Joe Biden arrived in Europe for several important engagements: the G7 in the UK, a NATO Summit and EU trade meeting in Brussels, and a further summit in Geneva.

Coinciding with his presence in the UK, members of the UK Parliament from all major political parties wrote a letter to President Biden noting that the United Kingdom is “increasingly confronted with the contradiction of advocating for press freedom abroad while holding Mr. Assange for years in the UK's most notorious prison at the request of the US government”, and that “We appeal to you to drop this prosecution, an act that would be a clarion call for freedom that would echo around the globe.” (https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/1403361729329967105)

On the day President Biden arrived in the UK, the House of Commons held a debate about the Safety of Journalists. John McDonnell MP said that: “It is a continuing stain on the reputation of this country that Julian Assange remains in Belmarsh prison. There are no justifiable grounds for keeping imprisoned a journalist who had the courage to expose war crimes and abuse of human rights." (https://twitter.com/DEAcampaign/status/1403038506021265415)

Richard Burgon MP made a powerful speech in the Commons urging Biden to drop the appeal against Julian. (https://twitter.com/DEAcampaign/status/1403026231415742465)


Our family is campaigning for Julian’s freedom on both sides of the Atlantic

Julian’s father John Shipton and brother Gabriel are currently in the United States travelling from city to city to raise awareness about Julian’s case and what’s at stake: both Julian’s life and the future of the First Amendment (Tour Itinerary: https://assangedefense.org/tour/). Earlier this week, John and Gabriel collected the 2021 Sacco and Vanzetti Award on Julian’s behalf in Boston. The award is named after one of the most notorious miscarriages of justice in US history.

Earlier this month, I was in Switzerland where the Geneva Press Club organised the city of Geneva’s call for Julian’s freedom (https://twitter.com/DEAcampaign/status/1402949743744106497). There was massive media interest, given partly that President Biden’s visit to the city is just days away. The mayor of Geneva, Frédérique Perler, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer, and Geneva Councilor of States, Carlo Sommaruga took part, while approximately forty media organisations attended a press conference. A statue of Julian, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning by Italian sculptor Davide Dormino sits on the Bains de Paquis pier in the heart of Geneva as Biden will be visiting the city.

It was the same story in Paris a week earlier where there was overwhelming media interest in Julian’s case and strong support for our campaign. I met with politicians, gave numerous interviews (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKlzHq7E2iM), and had a Q&A session with law and politics students (https://www.facebook.com/canalnetworkassas/videos/305802761024086/).

Our family is continuing to call on the Biden administration – which has declared itself to be a champion of free speech – to drop the extradition of Julian. We are urging the governments involved to get behind our call to President Biden to drop the charges and allow Julian to be reunited with his family.


The legal state of play

Blocking the extradition was the result we wanted. However, the US is trying to appeal that decision and the UK’s High Court is yet to announce whether it will grant permission for the appeal to be heard.

Shortly after making the decision to block extradition in January the same court also refused Julian bail. This means that, despite being an innocent man, convicted of nothing, Julian has remained behind bars in the UK’s most notorious prison for more than two years, facing an indictment brought by the Trump administration for exposing Bush-era war crimes, with restricted access to his lawyers and rarely able to see his family in person.

We have not been in the same room since he was in court in January and Julian has not been able to see our two sons since last October. Only in the last couple of weeks have I been able to apply for a prison visit, which will hopefully take place later in June.

Julian has now been in continuous incarceration for over a decade. I know that he is suffering and the longer this goes on the harder it becomes. The passing of time only reinforces the evidence given by experts at Julian’s extradition hearing - that being in prison, as someone with Asperger’s and long-term depression, takes a huge toll on his well-being and is life-threatening.

Our dearest wish is that he will be able to come home in time to celebrate his 50th birthday on July 3 with his family. But the system continues to move slowly.

The High Court’s decision could come any day – and, if permission to appeal is granted, it will mean several more months of incarceration for Julian while we wait for another hearing and prepare our defence.

The uncertainty is very tough, but your support keeps us going. Thankfully, there is an ever-growing number of media organisations, free speech campaigners and international politicians joining our campaign to free Julian.

In Geneva I invited everyone to join my fight to free Julian. We need to break the deadlock. That involves recognising that this is primarily a political case, not a legal one. It is a policy choice by the Biden administration to continue to prosecute publishers, which is not consistent with their other policy position on press freedom. Bringing these two positions into alignment necessitates the Biden administration dropping the case and Julian’s freedom.

It is a policy decision by the US government to go after foreign publishers working abroad. The extraterritorial application of US criminal laws on foreign publishers’ activities encroaches on the sovereignty of other countries, the sovereignty of allied countries, and it limits the scope of their civil liberties and press freedoms.

That is why insisting President Biden end this extradition is not just about the humanitarian considerations or the gross injustice of this case, but is also in the UK’s own interest, in Europe’s own interest, and in the interests of those who cherish the political openness enshrined in the US First Amendment.

This is not simply a legal matter. It is a politically motivated case and journalism is on trial as well as Julian. If the court’s decision to block extradition is reversed as a result of the US appeal, then all journalists could face the same fate. Politicians have a responsibility to recognize this, and the power to end this.

Please continue to raise awareness of this case and donate what you can to help us defend Julian – and, from both of us, thank you for your support.

Stella Moris


Upcoming dates:

It is very effective to organise campaign events around the political calendar, for example Biden’s travels, and the travels of other senior members of the Biden administration.


June

14 June: NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium

15 June: EU – US summit Brussels, Belgium

16 June: Biden-Putin Summit in Geneva, Switzerland

20 June: Father’s Day (UK), World Refugee Day

23 June: World Whistleblower Day

26 June: UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture and Start of Assange Week (ends 4 July). Follow @deacampaign for campaign events planned during this week. I have called for a global Lamington bake, like the kids and I did last year: https://twitter.com/StellaMoris1/status/1402013244152172558.


July

3 July: Julian’s 50th birthday

14 July: Deadline for evidence to the UK Parliament’s Open Consultation on Safety of Journalists

18 July: Nelson Mandela Day

25 July: 11-year anniversary of the publication of the Afghan War Diaries

30 July: Whistleblower Day (United States)


August:

19: August: World Humanitarian Day

30 August: International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances


September

5 September: Father’s Day (Australia)

10 September: World Suicide Prevention Day

21 September: International Day of Peace

26 September: German elections

26 September: International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

28 September: International Day for Universal Access to Information


October

2 October: International Day of Non-violence

10 October: World Mental Health Day

22 October: 11-year anniversary of the publication of the Iraq War Logs

24-31 October: Global Media and Information Literacy Week

24-31 October: Disarmament Week


November

1-12 November 2021: UK Climate Change Conference UK 2021 – COP26, Glasgow COP26 conference will see the world's leaders travel to Glasgow to discuss global climate and health challenges.

2 November: International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists

29 November: 11-year anniversary of the publication of Cablegate (US State Department cables)


December

7 December: 11-year anniversary of Julian's deprivation of liberty. Julian was arrested on this day in 2010 and has never been free since.

Update 6

Stella Moris

April 24, 2021

Latest update on Julian Assange

It has been another week of suffering for my partner, the publisher and human rights defender Julian Assange. He remains inside Belmarsh Prison where he continues to be held as a prisoner, even though he is not convicted of anything - in the same conditions as convicted murderers and armed robbers. He is now into his third year of arbitrary, pre-trial imprisonment, awaiting the outcome of the US government's application for permission to appeal.

A few days ago I gave a briefing to a group of parliamentarians from eleven countries about Julian's case:

I said: "[The 11th of April] was the two year anniversary of Julian's arrest and incarceration in Belmarsh. There were protests, and vigils on five continents and stories in the major UK Sunday papers. A double decker bus filled with people and draped with "Free Assange" followed the path from Julian's arrest at the Ecuadorian embassy to Belmarsh prison, where Julian has been buried from public view for the last two years. If it weren't for Julian's communications with me and a limited number of other people, he would have no idea of what was going on not only around the world, but fifty yards from the cell that holds him." (Full briefing: https://youtube.com/watch?v=WdWbMqZomtY.)

The prison system takes a long time to navigate, and even when you have a sense of what is going on, bureaucratic hurdles can appear out of nowhere. This happened for a few days last week, when contact with Julian was unexpectedly disrupted. It meant the vital contact which keeps him and us going stopped until it was re-established through mechanisms neither of us control.

These types of problems pale in comparison with the extraordinary difficulty of preparing a complex case such as his from prison, where Julian's access to his own court documents and prosecution material is partial and delayed. Julian hadn't even seen his lawyers in person for 6 months before the extradition hearing in September. There is no question that the prosecution has a major advantage when the defendant has to prepare his case from prison. That was true even before COVID, but COVID has made everything immensely more difficult.

Although COVID restrictions have eased in the UK, inmates in Belmarsh are still unable to receive family visits in person. We have not been able to see each other in person since October, except for in the court room. The last time I was in the same room as Julian was on January 6th, when his bail application was refused. He hasn't been able to hold his little boys in his arms for over a year.

Julian's defence team served its objections to the US Government's request for permission to appeal on April 6th. The team also informed the Court of the cross-appeal points it will pursue if the High Court agrees to hear the US appeal. We expect the court to grant permission to hear the appeal, because that is normally what happens.

In the meantime, the campaign has to focus on the big picture and plan around the political calendar rather than the court calendar, because court dates are constantly subject to change and delay. The political calendar, and key dates such as Julian's 50th birthday on the 3rd of July, are the best guide for planned actions.

Julian is not charged with anything in the UK, and the case that has been brought against him has been blasted by every credible international and press freedom organization. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer recently did a briefing to a group of 40 countries' members of parliament. The United Nations expert has just published a book about Julian's case in German. His investigation concluded that "The prosecution [against Assange] isn't pursuing law and injustice, it is pursuing political purposes. Therefore it is a persecution, not a prosecution." (Watch Melzer's briefing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1v6H0nRVzU).

Thanks for your continuing support. Please share this fundraiser and follow me (@stellamoris1 on twitter) and visit https://dontextraditeassange.com

Key dates:

24 April

10-year anniversary of the publication of the Guantanamo Bay Detainee Assessment Briefs (also known as the Gitmo Files https://wikileaks.org/gitmo/). The potential sentence for exposing this publication is 40 years, according the Trump indictment. Guantanamo Bay has been in the news because the Biden Administration has announced its intention to close the prison camp. A new film has been released based on Mohamedou Ould Salahi who was detained without charge in GITMO, and eventually freed, called The Mauritanian. In addition to the Detainee Assessment Briefs, WikiLeaks published numerous documents exposing prisoner abuse in the secretive prison at Guantanamo Bay (https://www.wikileaks.org/wiki/Category:Analyses).


May

This is very tentative but in May it is possible there will be a hearing in the High Court concerning the US government's appeal against January’s extradition decision – if the courts allow permission for an appeal.


June

26 June: Start of 'Assange week; for Julian's 50th birthday, ending on Julian's birthday on July 3rd


July

3 July: Julian's 50th birthday

25 July: 11 year anniversary of the publication of the Afghan War Diaries


October

22 October: 11 year anniversary of the publication of the Iraq War Logs


November

1-12 November 2021: COP26 UN Climate Conference to be held in Glasgow. The COP26 conference will see the world's leaders travel to Glasgow to discuss global climate and health challenges.

28/29 November: 11 year anniversary of the publication of Cablegate (US State Department cables)


December

7 December: 11-year anniversary of Julian's deprivation of liberty. Julian was arrested on this day in 2010 and has never been free since.



#DropTheCharge #FreeAssangeNOW

Stella Moris


Update 5

Stella Moris

April 9, 2021

Julian's second anniversary in Belmarsh this Sunday

On Sunday, April the 11th, Julian will have spent 2 full years in Belmarsh prison. 730 days. It marks the beginning of the third year of Julian's incarceration.

Protests and solidarity actions are planned around the world to raise awareness.

Reporters Without Borders (@rsf_inter on Twitter) has changed its banner into a Free Assange message for the anniversary. When I tell Julian about these actions it lifts his spirits.

Anniversaries are a platform to educate, nurture compassion and solidarity, and bring like-minded people onboard.

I was recently speaking to someone who was not particularly familiar with the case. The striking thing to them, they said, was the passage of time. It changes people's perception of the situation.

Remind people that the judge threw out the US extradition request in January. Remind them that Julian published information because he defends people's right to know what the government does in their name. Remind them that he has done nothing wrong and to put him in prison is to criminalize journalism. Remind them that he has a family and that he is suffering.

Please join protests and solidarity actions where you are, and share information online too. Follow @deacampaign and my account (@stellamoris1) and others, and please share this fundraiser to your networks too.

And don't forget to take pictures!

Stella Moris
Update 4

Stella Moris

March 22, 2021

Some key upcoming dates

I want to thank everyone on behalf of Julian and myself for helping to raise the funds to defend him against the US extradition appeal. This fundraiser has now passed £75,000 which will help to support the new legal challenges.

I hope Julian will be able to spend his 50th birthday this year on July 3rd at home, safe and with his kids. But it is by no means a certainty, so I ask everyone to redouble your efforts to make sure that his liberty becomes a reality. There is a severe risk that the lower court's decision could be reversed, and if Julian is extradited it would be a death sentence.

Small actions have a multiplying effect, and we must step up efforts until he is a free man.

Pressure must mount on the Biden Administration, and especially incoming Attorney General Merrick Garland, to break with this Trump-era indictment, to "return to sanity" and to the Obama-era policy not to prosecute Julian. Biden and his Justice Department under new leadership must drop the charges. These efforts should also extend to lawmakers and administration officials at the federal and state levels.

There are some key dates coming up which are really important to Julian and our campaign:


5 April

11-year anniversary of the Collateral Murder/Rules of Engagement publication: https://collateralmurder.wikileaks.org/. The video footage, taken from an Apache helicopter gunsight, showed the crew firing on a group of men and killing them, including two journalists from Reuters. It provoked a debate about the Iraq War and accountability for war crimes. The potential sentence Julian faces for his part in releasing this publication is 40 years, according to the Trump-era indictment. Whenever you hold an event about Julian please show the Collateral Murder video if the opportunity lends itself. Many people, especially those under the age of 30, have not seen the video. The video is key to understanding why the US administration wants to silence Julian.


11 April

This marks the 2-year anniversary of Julian's incarceration in Belmarsh prison. Julian is now into his 11th year of deprivation of liberty. Julian has not been a free man since his arrest without charge in December 2010. He was held in Wandsworth prison from 7 - 16 December 2010; then under house arrest from 16 December - 19 June 2012; then besieged at the embassy of Ecuador where he was granted political asylum in order to protect him from US extradition between 19 June 2012 and 11 April 2019. The UN (WGAD 54/2015) concluded that UK and Sweden were acting unlawfully by arbitrarily depriving him of his liberty. The UN demanded his freedom of movement be restored in February 2016. US charges were unsealed on the day of his arrest (Sweden never presented charges and dropped the investigation shortly after). Julian has been incarcerated in Belmarsh prison since 11 April 2019 to the present day, under a Trump-administration indictment, for exposing Bush-era war crimes.


24 April

10-year anniversary of the publication of the Guantanamo Bay Detainee Assessment Briefs (also known as the Gitmo Files https://wikileaks.org/gitmo/). The potential sentence for exposing this publication is 40 years, according the Trump indictment. Guantanamo Bay has been in the news because the Biden Administration has announced its intention to close the prison camp. A new film has been released based on Mohamedou Ould Salahi who was detained without charge in GITMO, and eventually freed, called The Mauritanian. In addition to the Detainee Assessment Briefs, WikiLeaks published numerous documents exposing prisoner abuse in the secretive prison at Guantanamo Bay (https://www.wikileaks.org/wiki/Category:Analyses).


May

This is very tentative but in May it is possible the High Court appeal against January’s extradition decision will be held – if the courts allow an appeal.


3 July

Julian's 50th birthday.


1-12 November 2021

COP26 UN Climate Conference to be held in Glasgow. The COP26 conference will see the world's leaders travel to Glasgow to discuss global climate and health challenges.



Please keep sharing our CrowdJustice page with friends, family, colleagues and anyone else who might be able to donate.

#FreeAssangeNOW

#DropTheCharges

Stella Moris



Update 3

Stella Moris

March 8, 2021

The latest developments in Julian Assange's extradition case

It has been another busy week for my partner Julian Assange's legal team and for the wider community of supporters.

Julian's lawyers are preparing submissions to counter the US application to appeal the Magistrate Court's decision of 4 January 2021, which blocked the extradition on grounds that extraditing Julian would be tantamount to the death penalty.

In Australia, which is heading into a general election in the second half of this year, the head of the main opposition party, Anthony Albanese, is now calling for Julian to be freed after more than a decade of having his freedom denied.

In the United States, the incoming Attorney General Merrick Garland could drop the charges against Julian entirely. This would align Biden's administration with Obama's, rather than Trump's, on the WikiLeaks matter. If Garland opts to pursue the Trump administration's indictment against Julian it will adopt, entrench and continue the most serious assault unleashed by the Trump administration against the press and civil liberties.

It was the Trump administration which brought charges against Julian, all relating to the revelations he helped to expose about Guantanamo Bay, the US embassy cables, and the Bush-wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Garland faces a choice: whether to continue the Trump administration's war on the press or defend the integrity of the US Constitution.

It is possible that Merrick Garland will see sense and drop the charges. Julian's indictment is opposed by people within the administration. The press and virtually every press freedom group have advocated for the US to end this prosecution because it criminalises journalism itself. Even within the administration, the political nature of the case and its threat to the Constitution has reportedly led to resignations.

The outgoing US prosecutor Zachary Terwilliger gave an interview the day after the US lost its bid to extradite Julian before the Magistrates' Court. Terwilliger anticipated that the new Attorney General would look at the case afresh and determine whether the case should be continued, further evidencing that there is already disagreement within the ranks.

Keep up the pressure on the Biden administration to return to the right position, the position under Obama.

Please share these updates with your networks and help us raise money to pay for the legal costs to defend against this outrageous appeal.

#DropTheCharges

#FreeAssangeNOW

Stella Moris

Update 2

Stella Moris

Feb. 16, 2021

Important updates to Julian Assange's extradition case

It is a busy time for the lawyers working on my partner Julian Assange’s extradition case. Last Friday was the deadline for the US government to finalise its application to the High Court, asking for permission to appeal last month’s decision. Earlier in the week, a coalition of dozens of major US press freedom groups had called on the Biden Administration to drop the charges against Julian.

The next step in the legal case is that Julian’s legal team will respond to the US grounds for appeal. Julian's lawyers are hard at work. Julian's team has asked the High Court to give them more time to consider whether to lodge a cross appeal in order to challenge parts of the ruling where the magistrate did not side with Julian and the press freedom arguments. A cross appeal would provide an opportunity to clear Julian’s name properly.

On January 4, a UK magistrates court ruled that it was unsafe to extradite Julian because to do so would likely result in his death. The magistrate took into account extensive medical evidence and blocked the extradition on grounds that to extradite him would be so oppressive as to be contrary to s.91 of the Extradition Act. Although Julian won at the Magistrates Court, the magistrate did not side with him on the wider public interest arguments.

We wanted a UK court to properly quash the extradition and refute the other grounds too. We wanted a finding that the extradition is an attempt to criminalise journalism, not just in the US but in the UK and the rest of the world as well; and that the decision to indict Julian was a political act, a violation of the treaty, a violation of his human rights and an abuse of process.

Julian’s extradition team is considering all these issues, and whether they can be cross-appealed. The Court will set the deadline for the defence to submit its response, and once it has all the arguments before it, the High Court will decide whether it wishes to grant permission for the appeal to be heard.

Meanwhile, Julian – who is an unconvicted innocent man – remains on remand in the high security Belmarsh Prison where he has been for over 500 days. He should be home with his kids, but he was refused bail. There are many terrible things about Belmarsh, not least how cold it has been over the last couple of weeks and that he is isolated in a cell practically all day long.

However, the most pressing problem for Julian is that conditions in detention continue to obstruct his ability to prepare his legal case, a case on which his life depends. He is denied proper access to his lawyers--his legal team is unable to do in-person visits because of Covid, and there are months of waiting lists for video conferencing. There are delays in legal papers reaching him and the laptop issued by UK authorities for the court case is read-only, it has no text editing programs, and the keys are glued down to prevent him from typing. This makes it all but impossible for him to provide adequate feedback to his team with regards to the materials required for the appeal.

The campaign is now at its most critical point. We cannot afford to have the Magistrate Court's ruling reversed on appeal.

The Biden Administration will soon appoint its new Attorney General and this will be an important moment to raise the pressure on the Biden Administration to live up to its commitments to defend press freedom and drop the charges against Julian. The Obama administration, of which Biden was Vice President, decided not to pursue charges against Julian because it recognised that to do so would be a wider attack on press freedom.

It was the Trump administration which charged him and pursued the extradition as part of its war against journalism.

Do whatever you can, however you can to help raise awareness about Julian's case in the coming weeks and months, until Julian's freedom is secured. Go to the dontextraditeassange.com campaign site for resources and ideas.

Please keep sharing this fundraising appeal with friends, family, colleagues and anyone else who might be able to donate. This is a David and Goliath battle, and the US government has unlimited resources. Keep explaining why Julian is guilty of nothing other than exposing truths about US war crimes and human rights abuses. An attack on him is an attack on a free press.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

#FreeAssangeNOW

#DropTheCharges

Stella Moris

Update 1

Stella Moris

Feb. 5, 2021

£50,000 raised for Julian Assange's appeal...but the fight continues

Our High Court appeal fund has reached £50,000, thanks to your generous support towards Julian’s new legal fight.

Over 1000 people have pledged to help defend Julian against the appeal of the extradition hearing decision.

The High Court appeal was lodged by the US government in the final days of the Trump administration. Julian and I are enormously grateful and heartened by the amazing support. More and more people understand what is at stake and the need for Julian to be free, and we need that to continue until Julian comes home.

On January 4 a UK Magistrates Court issued a ruling blocking the US government's request to extradite Julian. The UK magistrate ruled that extraditing him would be unsafe. The magistrate accepted that the evidence showed a high likelihood that Julian would die if the UK decided to extradite him. However, the US is now seeking to overturn that decision on appeal.

Although Julian won, he was refused bail, so he continues to be held as an unconvinced ‘remand’ prisoner in Belmarsh high security prison, where he has been for 22 months. He's been there for longer than many violent convicts. He faces difficult conditions, isolated for most of the day, which are compounded by Covid. In his block there were 97 inmates who had tested positive for Covid-19 by the end of December.

Julian should be warm, at home with me and his two sons. Max just turned two and we were forced to spend yet another birthday apart. Julian is really suffering with the cold weather. Even though winter clothes were sent to him in early October, Julian has still not received them. When he goes outside in the exercise yard he is having to layer up his existing clothes, which are not warm enough.

Many people are asking the Biden Administration to distance itself from the Trump-era prosecution of Julian, and to drop the charges entirely. Doing so would be in keeping with President Obama’s position that the US should not prosecute Julian because the case is the biggest single threat against press freedom. If the Biden Administration decides to drop the case, Julian could be free within weeks. But if it keeps the case going, it could take years.

The UK courts could decide to reverse the decision blocking the extradition on appeal, and if that happens, Julian will most likely never come home and our children will lose their father forever.

Julian’s lawyers must continue to prepare for all eventualities. Even though they are working for minimal rates, and in many cases pro bono, it is an expensive process and they carry enormous responsibility on their shoulders.

The next steps in the extradition case are as follows:

  • The US will submit its final appeal grounds by February 12. If the High Court is not satisfied that the US grounds for appeal are sound, Julian will be able to come home. If, on the other hand, the High Court agrees to hear the appeal, then that hearing is expected to take place in a few months.
  • If the High Court appeal goes ahead, the losing party could then appeal to the Supreme Court and/or the European Court of Human Rights. That could take several years.

In the meantime we must stay strong and grow the campaign for Julian’s freedom in every way we can.

Julian's life is at stake. That in itself is a terrifying and urgent reality. He should be free because his incarceration is a grave injustice to Julian and to our family.

This case is about an innocent man but it is also about our fundamental values. Julian is being punished for doing the right thing. Any prosecution of Julian – who exposed war crimes and human rights abuse– undermines press freedom in a way that affects every single person. The attempt to prosecute him criminalises public interest journalism.

Thank you again for continuing to be involved and engaged. Please share the CrowdJustice appeal with anyone who might be able to help.

#FreeAssangeNOW

#DropTheCharges

Stella Moris


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